Episode 4. Did you know that American Idol was here at the Pfister?

Lights. Camera. Action.

This Monday, February 16th, Milwaukee was featured as one of the audition cities on this season’s premier of American Idol. Did you know that, although the Milwaukee Art Museum was front and center, some of the auditions were also held here at the Pfister?

One of the many advantages of being the Pfister’s Narrator is that I am able to freely explore its spaces. On Sunday, October 6th I was doing just that when I found myself on the 23rd floor outside what was the executive boardroom.

He was by himself transforming the room into what would be a contestant interview room, checking the lights and cameras. I watched, thinking I should probably move along but I could not make my feet go. Just as I finally convinced them, he looked up. I introduced myself as the Pfister’s Narrator and he invited me in to take a closer look. 

His name was Bill. A new father, he is American Idol’s Director of Photography for the reality side of production (interviews, the judges lounge, anything that is not the actual audition). Originally from Chicago, he considered studying here in Milwaukee at MIAD (Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design) but ultimately ended up at the University of Iowa.  We bonded over our time in Iowa City— I, too, had studied there.   

He now lives in Los Angeles and has a 13 month old. Before he left for the road again, she treated him to a show— her first steps. He misses her and his wife. And knows that by the time he finds his way home, his sweet baby girl who had only just started walking when he left would now be an expert. But he also loves being on the road, helping to create and tell stories.

I asked if I could take a picture and tell his story. He said yes, but wait for American Idol to move on. And instead of you taking a picture, sit here in the interview chair and let me take yours.

And in that moment, I was a star:) Not really, but he made me feel like one. That is the thing about being a storyteller. New memories are made. New conversations are had. And stories are told.

Stories that remind you of the generosity and kindness of the human spirit. And that we have far more in common than what it so often seems.